With an open date on Monday as the Red Sox head south to face the Tampa Bay Rays, manager John Farrell said it made sense to schedule the series finale with the Blue Jays as an off day for David Ortiz to get the slugger off his feet for a couple days.
He’s played 19 games after starting the season on the disabled list with a right Achilles injury, and the plan was always to tread carefully to make sure a persistent injury doesn’t cost him any more games than the 15 he’s missed already.
But taking a couple of days to get away from the 1-for-17 slump he’s fallen into will likely do Ortiz some good as well. He came out of the gates scorching, hitting .414 with four home runs and 17 RBIs in his first 15 games.
Farrell said it was only logical that that he would cool off eventually.
“He gets off to a great start, goes into a bit of a three or four game [stretch] where he might be pulling off the ball a little bit more than he did when he first rejoined us,” Farrell said. “There’s nothing abnormal here. We’d love to think that he’s going to hit .500 for the whole year, but that’s probably going to tail off at some point.
A single on Saturday against the Jays snapped a stretch of 17 straight hitless at-bats
“When he was in that good stretch when he first started, he was driving balls to straightaway left, left-center and he got back to that yesterday with the base hit that he had yesterday,” Farrell said. “He’s squared some balls up that haven’t either found a whole or carried as they had when he first rejoined us. So I can’t say that there’s any one major issue that he’s dealing with mechanically.
A few more things:
• Andrew Bailey will likely throw off a mound on Tuesday and pitch to hitters, possibly in a simulated game or an early batting practice session, shortly thereafter, Farrell said. the team will decide from there whether he’ll need to make a rehab appearance.
• Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara have made 34 appearances between the two of them, and though he attributes much of that to being ahead late in several of their April games, Farrell wants to keep those numbers down as much as possible, saying, “We’d like to think we’d keep any one of our relievers out of the top 10 in the league.”
• Jacoby Ellsbury’s triple Saturday was his first extra-base hit in six games. He’s hitting .129 over the past seven (4 for 31) and Farrell said the main issues is timing because of a closed stance. “There’s been some times where it seems like he’ll get tied up a little bit, whether that’s because of him being a little bit closed-off with his lower half that’s caused him to kind of be a little late through the hitting zone,” Farrell said. “I know it’s the one area he’s trying to adjust right now, work on, just trying to keep him a little more square.”